Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Urban Farming 2010 - Week 2

Columnar applesYesterday was another balmy "spring" day in Seattle. I took advantage of the weather and planted my thornless Triple Crown blackberry plant. I ended up not planting it in a container because I found a spot that I had completely forgotten about that is contained by concrete on all sides (and rose bushes) and, more importantly, is in the ground (more on that later).

While I was at it, I finally planted the two columnar apple trees that I bought last summer that were living in pots. So, now they are happily living in dirt in a much larger area. That should protect them from watering variabilities. Now, if I could just get the kids to not pick the apples off of the trees.

In order to plant the second apple, I had to dig up an Arborvitae. Four of these evergreen trees were planted in a border just before we moved in and I've been planning on getting rid of them ever since (see this old post for evidence). Since they've been growing a while (two down - two to go), this almost six foot Arborvitae tree was a little harder to remove than I would have liked.

In order to loosen the root system and, because I have little in the way of equipment to remove a tree and a bad back to boot, I decided to sit on the tree toward the bottom. This ended up bending the plant as I bounced up and down on it like I was riding a bucking bronco. Which, of course, required a few "Yeehaws!" on my part. My kids thought this was hilarious and wanted a turn but I was afraid, given their low weight, the tree would zing them into the fence like an Arborvitae catapult.

After bending the tree down in various directions and continuing my "riding" routine, it was uplifted enough so that I could continue by taking a flat-ended shovel at its root system and cutting it out. This took a while, but I managed to remove it and most of its thicker roots. I'm sure my neighbors and other passersby think I need therapy.

Aside from riding the tree, I also started four Black Krim tomato plants inside. We'll see how successful this is. I've never done tomatoes myself before (I usually buy the plant starts) so I'm anxious to see how they turn out. If I'm successful, I'll be going crazy next year growing my own. I just need to find the extra space.

Finally, last Thursday evening I had my Backyard Beekeeping 101 class. It was extremely interesting, but I decided within the first 20 minutes of the class that beekeeping won't work for us. If we had more space that wasn't so heavily trafficked on all sides of our property, I'd be more game. But, given the number of bees you are looking at in the hives, it just seems like an incident waiting to happen. Next month is my City Goats class, which I'm looking forward to as well.

Next week, I've got big plans. Big plans, I tell you. Stay tuned.


Robj98168 said...

Good luck on your blackberries, hopefully they grow like, well, weeds!
I myself went out and planted 3 Camellia Sinensis or "Tea Plants" today.

All of Us said...

I love Black Krims! They are my hands down favorite tomato. We have grown them in our yard and they do very well (we are in NJ).

Oldnovice said...

I'd love to taste a Black Krim. I've tried to grow them two years in a row (starting seeds inside and transplanting), but I've not had one fruit yet. Maybe 3rd year will be the charm.

Farmer's Daughter said...

You make me want to get out in the garden! It'll still be a few weeks before we can start even the hardiest of crops outside. And by then the baby will be here, so I've put my husband in charge. I admit, I'm having a very hard time giving up control!

As for tomatoes, I've had the most success with plants that appear in the garden from last year's tomatoes that fell and rotted, leaving their seeds behind. They always seem to be the strongest plants, and I even dig them up and move them around without any problems.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

We got another 3 inches of snow over the weekend. The closest I got to gardening was a visit to the home & garden show which was both interesting and cruel and unusual punishment, given that they were selling stuff I can't plant until May.

I bought sprouts. We're going to experiment growing them indoors.

Vee said...

Love your blog. Sounds like you have the same columnar (Starks?) trees that we'll be planting this year.

Beautiful tomato. We have several planned, but specifically we're trying a purple russian that Hubby's mouth watered over.

You have a good thing going. Lots of plans and great execution. I hope you have a change to check out my special gardening challenge at - thanks! Vikki at

dee dee said...

I have always wanted to grow tomatoes from seeds, but they require 80 degree (F) soil in order to germinate...that's hard to do when the temp. inside the house is about 66! We could try a warming tray, but I don't know what that would do to the electric bill. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

You really should consider mason bees. They polinate, are care free, and don't sting people. Google "canned bees"

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear about the city goats. I think that is something I would like to have.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

I started tomatoes for the first time this year too - I wasn't sure the local place where I usually buy my starters would have the heirloom types I fell in love with. I was worried, but so far it's going great!

Prairiemom said...

Your tree story reminds me of when I was ripping out some ornamental bushes to install my rain barrels last spring. I started out gently to save them, and ended up with a hack saw and a shovel, and my victory cry at the end made the neighbors come out to check on me! LOL.
Good luck with your planting. Wish it was me. I can't until at least May.

Danika Carter said...

I Love the idea of columnar apple trees. I live in a town house and these would be great, especially if I can bring them inside during the winter. Our growing season here in CO is so short, especially this year.